Yes! That Sophie B. Hawkins. Remember? From the nineties? 'Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover' and the other one. Thingy. 'Right Beside You'. And, um, 'Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover'. No, we've had that one already. Anyway, 1992 was a big year for Ms Hawkins, what with the hit singles and all that goes with it. I would like to claim that she's kept herself busy since then, but a workrate of 4 albums from her debut to this 2012 release, "The Crossing" would seem to indicate otherwise. Apparently, there was an argument about a banjo in nineteen ninety something which scuppered one of her albums, and she took a half.
So, based on the two songs of hers that I know, and an admiration for her stance regarding said banjo, what do I reckon to this album. Well, it's alright. You won't be surprised to learn that Ms Hawkins is a bit of a hippy liberal, so there are songs about Hillary Clinton, the Gulf Of Mexico oil spill, and the illegal trafficking of puppy organs by multinational corporations who have to remain anonymous for legal reasons. Soundwise, not much has changed in the last twenty years. It's still jazzy, folky, country, poppy singer songwritery stuff. With the odd power ballad for luck.
She was always a good singer and her voice remains very listenable. When the songs perk themselves up a bit, as they do on the likes of 'Sinnerman', 'Georgia' and the jazzy 'Dream St & Chance', it all becomes very good indeed. But there is a fair amount of driftwood like 'Red Bird' that probably sounds great down the hummus bar, with a glass of ethically produced Chardonnay, but which in the cold light of day just doesn't catch fire.
The album has also been artificially lengthened with some acoustic and demo tracks, including a rerun of 'Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover', just in case you'd forgotten, but at seventeen tracks, it's at least six tracks too long. Having said that, Ms Hawkins always had a talent that needed a wider audience, so it's is good to have her back on the scene.